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Your Opening Day Roster

Mike SteffanosWednesday, April 1, 2009
By Mike Steffanos


Although it was somewhat of a surprise that the Mets made their final roster calls today, the players going north hold no surprises.

ROTATION:
Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Oliver Perez
John Maine
Livan Hernandez
(will be added to roster for April 11 start)

Quick Thoughts: Santana has looked great his last couple of times out. Pelfrey has had his ups and downs, but looks confident to pick up where he left off last year. Perez started to come around his last outing, and is always somewhat of a work in progress anyway. Maine had a nice start last night, but is probably the biggest question mark of the four at this time. Hernandez is what he is -- they're looking for him to keep them in the game for 6 or 7 innings.

In Reserve: Jonathon Niese and Freddy Garcia are the two likeliest to get an early call. Dylan Gee will start the year in AA-Binghamton, and a hot start could put him in the picture. Brad Holt is further from the majors but could put himself on the map if he gets out of the gate quick, too. No point in even thinking about Tim Redding until he actually starts throwing.

BULLPEN:
Frankie Rodriguez
J. J. Putz
Sean Green
Pedro Feliciano
Bobby Parnell
Darren O'Day
Brian Stokes

Quick Thoughts: The Mets elect to go with a couple of young guys, Parnell and O'Day, instead of a true long man and another lefty. It seems that Stokes will be the long man out of the gate, but Parnell could fill that role, too. The Mets need these guys to get off to a fast start or the natives are almost guaranteed to get restless. It will be interesting to see how Manuel uses Parnell out of the gate -- he has the best stuff but the least experience of the middle relievers.

In Reserve: Carlos Muniz, who rode the New Orleans shuttle back and forth a few times last year could be shuffling off to and from Buffalo this year. Eddie Kunz dropped off the radar dramatically this spring but could get another look. Waivers pickup Ken Takahashi might get a call if they decide to go second LOOGY after all. Beyond that lies mere cannon fodder, although it's conceivable that a kid like Gee might get a bullpen call in a pinch.

CATCHERS
Brian Schneider
Ramon Castro

Quick Thoughts: You just hope Castro could stay healthy all year, because the more AB vs. left-handers he could take away from Schneider, the better off this offense will be. Schneider actually had respectable numbers for a catcher against RHP.

In Reserve: Not much. Robinson Cancel will be the likeliest first call-up. He plays the game right, but his bat has kept him in the minors for 99% of his career. Josh Thole has seen his stock rise nicely this spring, but he has a long way to go and a lot to learn.

INFIELDERS
Carlos Delgado
Jose Reyes
David Wright
Luis Castillo
Alex Cora

Quick Thoughts: Luis Castillo has earned the chance to begin the season at 2B, but will need to be very productive to keep the boo birds away. That's going to be tough to do batting eighth, but he has virtually no margin for error. Delgado needs to get off to a quicker start this year after a lost first half in '08. Wright and Reyes need to just keep on keeping on. Alex Cora will backup at both 2B and SS, and has the defensive skills to actually allow Reyes a day off here and there, just don't look for much offense. Fernando Tatis, listed with the outfielders, will likely be the primary backup at 1B and 3B, though Cora could play 3B, too. Marlon Anderson could play 2B, too, if he sticks.

In Reserve: Again, not much. Andy Green and Argenis Reyes will be in Buffalo, most of the Mets better infield prospects are too far away to factor into 2009.

OUTFIELDERS
Daniel Murphy
Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Jeremy Reed
Fernando Tatis
Marlon Anderson
Nick Evans

Quick Thoughts: You know what you are going to get from Carlos Beltran, the obvious question marks are Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church. We've written extensively on Murphy, who needs to maintain the high on-base percentage while hitting with some power. Church is a nice defensive OF who looked like he was finally fulfilling his potential before getting hurt last year. Can he really put a full, consistent campaign together?

Fernando Tatis will see a lot of time in both LF and RF, and will be the primary right-handed bat on the bench. If he produces offensively anywhere close to what he did last year, he'll be fine. He's had a nice spring, as has Jeremy Reed, who will provide defensive support in late innings for both Murphy and Tatis, the trick will be to find him enough AB to keep sharp. It would have been easier if he wasn't a leftie.

Marlon Anderson made this team out of the gate because he's a proven pinch-hitter. It will be interesting because I don't foresee a lot starts for him, so he will have to produce in one of the toughest jobs in baseball. I like him, but he'll be on the hot seat. Nick Evans will head to Buffalo once Livan comes up, but he'll easily be the first call-up if someone gets hurt or fails to produce. It's the right move -- he's had a great spring, but he's had plenty of AB while much of the team was at the WBC. Those AB won't be there to start the season, so he's better off playing every day and staying ready.

In Reserve (Beyond Evans): Can you hear the drums Fernando? If he could stay healthy, top prospect Fernando Martinez could very well see Citi Field this season as a player.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

Comments (7)

I would have been happier with either Niese or Nelly Figuroa getting the 5th spot over Livan. I suspect that at this stage of his career Hernandez' is right on that Spring Training cusp: good enough for the March games, but the equivalent of a surrender flag once the regular season commences.

Otherwise it's a pretty solid roster, not clearly better than the Phils or the Braves but very competitive. I'm ready for the season to begin.

There are candidates for starting pitcher, middle infielder and catcher out there, players who aren't getting the call from the teams who own their contracts. The Mets should be looking ahead for opportunities to fill the openings sure to develop on their own roster; I hope they are. But I look at Marlon Anderson on this year's roster and I have my doubts.


( As a way of averting bad luck:) Maybe we should fear the Fish a bit as well. They are putting a good team together down there; the question is, when does it arrive?

None the less, their kid outfielder Maybin looks ready to break out; their starting pitching looks better than it has the last few years. Did you notice, they just released Dallas McPherson, a never-was star who has banged around seemingly forever, but who last year hit 42 home runs in Triple A at the age of 27. But the Fish had a better third base option than McPherson.

The key for the Mets is to get off to a solid start. Win the games against the teams they are suppose to beat and be in the games with a chance to win against the contenders. I agree with DD, it's not just the Champion Phils, or long time foes the Braves, but the Marlins can surely factor in, especially if their young/talented pitching holds up. Consistancey is the key, win series, run off 5-7 games in a row here and there, keep atop the division, and most importantly REMAIN HEALTHY! Lets go Mets 2009!

I'm actually fairly happy with Hernandez as a #5 starter. We're not looking for 20 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA from our #5 starter. We're looking for 10 wins and a guy we can count on to consistantly pitch 5-7 solid innings to take the strain off our bullpen, and that's exactly what Livan will give us.

I'm pretty happy with this roster all-around, and I also like Manuel's batting order (Murphy 2nd, Beltran 5th, Castillo 8th), though it is, of course, very lefty-heavy. I think the key will be to avoid injury as much as possible (knock on wood), since we really don't have much depth to speak of in any of the critical areas.

anybody who's concerned about hernandez as the 5th starter (not that i blame u)the phils announced that chan ho park will their 5th starter.compared to him, livan looks good.didn't like the article the aother day about castillo giving off a bad vibe about hitting eigth.he should just shut up and play well and the fans will leave him alone.other tnan that, it's time for less talking and more playing..I HOPE THE OPENING OF CITIFIELD IN 2009 WILL BE A GREAT MEMORY FOR METS FANS FOR A LONG TIME FORWARD.let's make sports illustrated look good and bring home the ring in 2009 !!!!!!!!!!!!

This time of year raises thoughts of the best team I ever followed, the '86 Mets. What a treat it was, having that team to look forward to every evening on television, every morning in the newspaper box scores.

Also, this time of year is the occasion for a peek across the aisle to the Bronx, and I have to say their pitching rotation reminds me of that great Mets team. Joba Chamberlain as a #5 starter is at least the equal of Rick Aguilera.

But if this year's Yankees starting staff is reminiscent of the Davey Johnson Mets, the team they will put in the field every day has the potential to remind us of the Jeff Torborg Mets. There are so many positions where age can suddenly catch up; so many potential holes in that defense. The Yankees spent a fortune to field that will prove ugly to watch.

Figgy? My gosh, Figgy! At least Parnell has the arm. Maybe you'll get your wish and if Parnell flames out they'll call up Figgy to replace him.

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